Cricket World Cup 2019

Content Sharma keeps India on track

Rohit Sharma's 140, his 24th ODI ton, helped India to an 89-run win over Pakistan in their Cricket World Cup match at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. PHOTO: REUTERS
Rohit Sharma's 140, his 24th ODI ton, helped India to an 89-run win over Pakistan in their Cricket World Cup match at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Rohit Sharma revealed his newborn daughter had put him in a "great space" after the opener scored his second century of the World Cup to set up India's big win over arch rivals Pakistan.

The batsman smashed 140 off 113 balls to lead India to 336 for five in the rain-hit game in Manchester on Sunday.

Their bowlers, led by spinner Kuldeep Yadav, then combined to restrict Pakistan to 212 for six while chasing a revised target of 302 in 40 overs, with India winning by 89 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method to secure bragging rights over their rivals.

Sharma, whose wife gave birth to a baby girl during India's tour of Australia last December, dedicated his Man of the Match award to his young family.

He said: "It's a very good phase in my life. Having a daughter, a newly born daughter in my life... So, yeah, I'm enjoying my cricket, I'm coming off a great IPL (Indian Premier League) campaign and then starting off here.

"So the focus was always on that, to start well and then see where the team are heading and then the individual. So as a team we're heading in the right direction."

The attacking opener, who led the Mumbai Indians to their fourth IPL title last month, has already scored 319 runs in three innings to help India maintain their unbeaten streak in four World Cup games, including a washout.

Sharma, who recorded his 24th ODI ton, took apart Pakistan with some clean hitting to smash 14 fours and three sixes.

"When you are playing where the conditions are going to challenge you, as a batsman, you've just got to assess the conditions first because the pitch was under the cover for a long time," he said.

"So the idea was not to lose wickets and build a platform and try to take the game forward after that."

The comprehensive loss, though, left Sarfaraz Ahmed's team in ninth place after just three points from five matches and needing a huge turnaround to have a chance of making the semi-finals.

However, the captain refused to pin the blame for their defeat on his senior players, insisting the squad as a whole had to share responsibility as everyone was "not performing well in all three departments, not fielding, not bowling, and not batting".

All-rounder Imad Wasim also admitted Pakistan now had to win all four of their remaining games to have any hope after the "really disappointing result".

He added: "From our point of view, we can only do what we can. What is in our hands is to try to win all four games and take it from there."

Two-time world champions India next take on minnows Afghanistan on Saturday, while Pakistan face South Africa on Sunday.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2019, with the headline 'Content Sharma keeps India on track'. Print Edition | Subscribe